A year ago this month I messaged a woman on Facebook who had been making some comments that were both insightful and amusing, asking her if she’d be interested in blogging. It wasn’t the first time I tried this, as it’s the same way I recruited both Merrimack Turtlebae and North Shore Turtlebabe. But this woman’s writing was different. I’d never brought anyone on board quite like her, and she quickly showed what she could do when she published the blogs exposing Michael Cadena. Although all the bloggers amuse me in some way, and I do enjoy almost everything they write, Bristol’s writing is unique, passionate, and comes from a place of understanding. Contacting her was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for the blog, and she’s been an invaluable asset throughout our troubled times. Last night she published a blog on TBS that I am going to publish here as well. Her version contains the f word a lot, and TB Daily News doesn’t publish the f word, so I had to change it around a little, but the point remains the same.
I did a live stream Sunday, and towards the end, someone asked me…
“Bristol, how did you come to be so invested in and passionate about Turtleboy?”
I’m paraphrasing at this point, but boy – what a loaded question that is. I try not to talk about myself too much while I’m on this crazy journey I was blessed to be swept up in over a year ago when I got a random, unexpected message from one of my long time idols – the one and only Clarence Woods Emerson. “Your comments make me laugh,” it said, “Would you ever want to try blogging?”
I simply understood then, as I do now, it’s not me you all come to read. Who am I, really? No one gives a f***. And I wouldn’t want you to, or expect it. I’m simply not important. But to answer a question like that, really answer it….well, it’s simply impossible not to delve in to who I am underneath the biting, venomous, and crude humor to who I am. And put simply, for a long time, I was an immature little girl who simply did not give a fuck. Exhibit A.
This is a mugshot, and it is mine, from over a decade ago when I was around 19, almost 20. I was picked up for a warrant on a traffic stop not far from where I was living at the time, in a tiny, run down apartment off Crowell Road in Chatham. Earlier today, Seth Thurston of Albuquerque, New Mexico dredged it up and posted it as a reaction to what he apparently felt was a slight to him on our stream (He’s an idiot, and it was.).
But he missed so much context, and that context really explains who I was at the time.
You see, approximately four months prior to the traffic stop, I was stopped for some traffic infraction I can’t quite remember, and I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt. I just didn’t give a f*** enough about the potential danger of being sent hurdling through the glass of my windshield in an accident enough to buckle up. The officer issued me an $80 ticket, and I should have paid it. But I didn’t. I just didn’t give a f***. And there it sat, ignored and unpaid, until the Registry of Motor Vehicles suspended my license. I should have stopped driving until I cleared it up. But I didn’t give a f***.
Now, when the RMV suspends your license, eventually it shows up when your plates are run. Of course, you’re given a bit of a “grace period” before your registration is also revoked. This is NOT a free pass to keep operating your motor vehicle. But I didn’t give a f***. I kept driving, and one day, with a friend of mine in the passenger seat, I was again pulled over. My father is a longtime town employee and what you’d call a “good ol’ boy” in town, so the cops were generally a little bit more friendly with me. The officer checked my passenger’s license and sternly ordered we pull a “Chinese fire drill” and I take care of my license immediately. We obliged, and I remember adamantly assuring him that I would certainly resolve the issue. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t give a f***.
So a few days later I again got pulled over, license suspension still unresolved. The cop was slightly less forgiving, but he agreed to allow me to call someone to pick up my car and simply issue a summons in lieu of arrest. That court date came and went – I didn’t give a f***.
And so I was pulled over a third time, this time with neither a valid license nor registration, and an active bench warrant. This time I started to give a half a f***… but only as I was cuffed, placed in the back of a cruiser, and booked at this station. This time was obviously different for me – it was the officer who didn’t give a f***. Not my proudest moment for sure. And, oh my God. That mug shot.
That is the face of a classic Turtleboy famous ratchet. I deserve your ridicule. Truly.
There’s also some context that Mr. Thurston left out surrounding that, however. Because if you pan up, just a little, on that days arrest, you may notice….
Another arrest, a man, from the same address as mine. The reason I looked extra disheveled. You see, my license wasn’t the only think I didn’t give a f*** about at 19. My personal safety was low on the list of things to give a f*** about as well. That day, as I was driving with no license and no registration, it was for some semblance of a reason. I was attempting to flee from my abuser. And as I sat in that cell and waited for bail I knew was not going to come, I didn’t really give a f***. Because for at least a day, I knew I wasn’t going to be hit. I should have given more of a f***, though. By 19, I had a child. A child I couldn’t protect, because I couldn’t even protect myself. I wanted to give a f***, I really did. I just didn’t know how. I didn’t have any control.
I did see my day in court, and I saw those charges dismissed. And for the next nearly three years I was stuck in a cycle of being so powerless, I felt like I couldn’t give a f*** if I tried. That’s another piece of context “Bill Daddo” missed. The part where I would pull myself up, barely, and crawl to the point where I really, really gave a f***. I had two kids to protect, but I still couldn’t protect myself. He missed this headline, in 2011.
Taunton Daily Gazette: “Police say it took five Taser strikes before they were able to handcuff an out-of-control 31-year-old city man, accused of brutalizing a woman in the presence of her two young children early Thursday night.
Steven J. Young, formerly of 458 Weir St., apt. 3, is charged with domestic assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (shod foot), assault and battery on a police officer and witness intimidation. He’s being held on $25,000 cash bail at Bristol County House of Correction after his arraignment Friday in Taunton District Court. Patrolman Jayson LaPlante reports having witnessed Young punch the 23-year-old woman “square in the face … knocking her across the room onto the floor.”
The brazen assault, LaPlante says, occurred after the officer encountered a “heavily breathing” Young in the apartment’s kitchen. As soon as the two men made eye contact, Young allegedly rushed into a bedroom where the woman was crying, head in hands, and cold-cocked her in front of the Taunton cop. LaPlante said he deployed the dual probes of his Taser device into Young’s lower back but they had no effect — after Young slammed the bedroom door shut, dislodging one of the electrical-current-transmitting probes.
Kicking the door open, LaPlante then moved in to deliver a Taser “drive stun” after Young allegedly rushed at him with his fist clenched. Young reportedly fell onto a mattress but then proceeded to kick the officer in the chest with both legs. A so-called drive stun, unlike a Taser probe’s normal five-second-long effect, only has a second-long disabling effect on muscles. After being ordered to roll over on the mattress to be handcuffed Young reportedly taunted the officer, telling him to “learn your trade mother (expletive).”
He allegedly then charged LaPlante, who in the meantime had loaded a second cartridge into his Taser. A metal probe found its mark in Young’s chest but only slowed him down momentarily. When Young tried getting up again he was hit with a second and finally a third Taser burst. At that point he was handcuffed and removed from the premises. Police were originally called to the apartment house at 6 p.m.. On their way in they reportedly ran into Young, who said he was leaving for the night and was warned by cops not to return. Just over an hour later police were called back when a 911 call reported a domestic disturbance on the third floor possibly involving a knife.
A female tenant allegedly told urged cops to “please hurry. He’s up there killing her.” A male witness later told cops Young was out of control because he had ingested at least a dozen Klonopin pills, an anti-anxiety/anti-seizure medication, and was drinking heavily. Both witnesses reported seeing Young punch his female victim all over her body. The woman, who police said was visibly shaken and was injured above her eye, reportedly refused medical attention and repeatedly asked if Young would be arrested.”
That woman was me. That’s the same man arrested back in 2009, on the same day I was cuffed because I couldn’t find the motivation to give a f*** enough to buckle my seat belt as I let one poor decision hurtle me through the proverbial windshield straight into the world’s most cringeworthy mug shot. And that, I assure you, was not the worst of the violence I had grown so accustomed to. I could have been killed, as my two children looked on in horror, on any given day for high crimes ranging from trying to go out in public with makeup on to wanting to leave the man that beat me with closed fists as he called me a whore. I was jobless. I was weak, and I hadn’t so much as brushed my hair in nearly six months. But I didn’t give a f***. I knew that I would rather be killed than have my children live another day in squalor watching their mother be beaten like an animal, with no good example to give them. I’m sure in opening up his identity to my detractors he’d have a lot of BS to spew about me. But he’s a soulless batterer, and I have no more fear in me. I don’t give a f***.
But that day is when I started to give a f***. Someone told me, “This may feel like the worst day of your life, but it’s the best.” It did, but it was. First, I finally gave a f*** about my kids. I swallowed my fear, and my guilt, and my shame. I followed through with the charges. And then about myself. I went to meetings, I addressed my mental health. I got a job. I learned to take pride in myself, in my home, in my career. I learned how to speak up for what I needed, I learned to say no. Time kept moving on, and I often stumbled. The mistakes I’ve made and the havoc I’ve wreaked would take ten blogs to cover. But, I never gave up. Slowly but surely, my life grew. And then one day….I realized, I really realized, how to give a f***.
Not just about myself, not just about the children I had once so sorely failed. Not just about my new husband, who treats me with love and respect, and as an equal; or the friends I had finally been able to find, or the career I had been finally able to fully realize. I learned how to give a f*** about others who were walking the path I had once trudged, feeling so alone. I learned how to give a f*** about my community, about something bigger than the little world I had carved out for myself despite whatever odds may have once been laid against me. I learned that what I had gained was meaningless and always at jeopardy if I was not always willing to give it away, to share what I had learned with others. One day, nearly 8 years after I had left the nightmare that once seemed like it would be my dismal existence until the day that I died in the dust…I was given an opportunity to share my perspective with more people than I had even imagined. And I’m learning how to use it, every day. I truly do give a f***.
I give a f*** about the voiceless, I give a f*** about giving them a voice. I give a f*** about a mother in Illinois who beat her addiction to be a mother to her child, despite the campaign of spiteful and defamatory accusation waged against her. I give a f*** about the victims of con-men who prey on trusting good souls again, and again, and again. I care about domestic violence victims, and animals, and children who can’t speak up for themselves. I give a f*** about vindication, and helping to reclaim even a ounce of power to the powerless. I care about giving some semblance of power back to victims. I’ve reached out to addicts we’ve blogged about to give them a ride to rehab and a chance at redemption. I’ve spent hours trying to help re-home the homeless. Tonight, I drove an hour from home to speak to the grandparents of a child caught in the middle of his mother’s self destructive spiral. I stayed, and I talked, and I lent my ear to a couple desperate to do the best they can by their grandson in the saddest of circumstances you can imagine, at the hands of a neglectful mother completely unwilling to change. To help when I can, to counsel as much as I can, sometimes just to listen. And in the end, I made such a meaningful connection for myself (and such a special new little friend), that it almost feels selfish to me.
I’ve helped raise money for those who need it, I’ve supported the families of those who make the ultimate sacrifice for our communities, I’ve given my own cell phone number out all over the internet to anyone who just might need anyone to talk to, anyone who just might need to hear about the way out. I don’t talk about it often, because I don’t need the accolades. I do it because I give a f***. And if I make a difference in even just one life, then I am eternally grateful to Turtleboy for giving me this opportunity. A certain degree of unfiltered reality showed me the ways in which I had to change, and if I can do that for so much as just one other person…then I feel more complete. Because, gosh darnett, I give a f***.
You may call this virtue signaling. Maybe it is. God, I hope not, because there’s nothing more that I abhor. I just know what it feels like, to be downtrodden, to be hopeless, to have nowhere to turn. And that’s why I’m so passionate about Turtleboy. Because through this crazy little “hate blog”, I finally have an outlet to try to do some good in the world. I may just be one fat broad who couldn’t so much as pay a seat belt ticket ten years ago, but today….I truly do give a f***. If this stupid, sappy, self important blog does nothing else….I hope it moves you, whoever you may be, to give a f*** as well.
And by the way, “Bill Daddo”? Judging from the numbers I’m seeing here, as far as anything you might have to say?
Nobody gives a f***.